26 Jul 2023
Chance to check in as city’s libraries host pioneering wellbeing pods
A novel addition to libraries in Leeds is giving parents and families support from local midwives and healthcare professionals in the same place they browse for their favourite books.
New “wellbeing pods” have officially launched in eight of the city’s libraries and community hubs, the first of their kind to be hosted by any library service in the UK.
A joint initiative between the NHS in Leeds and Leeds Libraries, the pods are small, clinical rooms converted from old interview rooms, or added in as stand alone, enclosed pods.
Pods in each library are booked by midwives and other NHS services, who then manage their appointments and timings directly with patients. Each of the pods can be used by midwives or other healthcare professional and are complete with an examination bed, sink, seating area, and leaflet rack.
NHS bosses say the pods are particularly useful for maternity services, allowing midwives to introduce families to other related services on offer in libraries and community hubs and introduce them to staff who can help them with everything from benefits advice to story and rhyme sessions and the story bus.
Midwife Charlotte Compton, who works at the Compton Centre Community Hub and Library, said: “The hub at the Compton Centre provides a welcoming, safe space for women in the local area to access maternity care. It is a well-known location and very accessible for people to get to. It also enables women to access other services being offered here whilst they visit.”
Andrea Ellison, Leeds Libraries’ chief librarian, added: “We’re incredibly proud that ours are the very first libraries and community hubs in the country offering this hugely important new service to people in local communities in Leeds.
“Our libraries are welcoming, accessible and friendly spaces where people can already find a huge range of information and advice. By giving local people this new opportunity to see a midwife or healthcare professional when they visit their local library, we are linking even more of the city’s support services together and further emphasising the role which libraries play at the heart of our communities.”
A celebration event took place last week at Hunslet Community Library, with speakers including councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council's executive member for adult social care, public health and active lifestyles.
The event included more information about the pods, as well as a visit from the library service’s storybus, a story time session, play facilities for families, crafting and stalls from maternity services with information on other offers around the city for families.
Councillor Arif said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will give local people more choice about where and how they want to access important healthcare services.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with the NHS in Leeds to make these spaces available and bring integral community services together under one roof.”
Wellbeing Pods are currently situated in eight libraries and community hubs: Armley, Compton, Headingley, Holt Park, Hunslet, Reginald Centre, St. George’s Centre, Seacroft.
More information about libraries in Leeds can be found at: Libraries (leeds.gov.uk)
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Leeds City Council